Ridicule, funny looks, and complete puzzlement is what I usually face when I tell people that I am paleo. I say to myself that people are just not familiar with the lifestyle or they’re secretly harbor feelings of guilt and self-loathing for inhaling massive quantities of junk food. Whether this is true or not is open to debate. (Pretty sure I hit the nail on the head in a few instances though).
Let me clear a few things up about my diet. No, I am not 100% paleo. (To be paleo and truly eat how our ancestors ate is impossible. Those foods simply do not exist anymore.) I am not even 100% paleo according to modern paleo standards. To give approximate a number I’d say I am about 85% paleo. One addition or modification I’ve made is to include some dairy. Mostly in the form of whey protein, whether in bars or powder, but also some butter from grass-fed cows and recently I’ve tried some local, organic raw goat’s milk. As far as processed foods go, I do my best to avoid them however sometimes its inevitable that you have to consume something processed (lunch meat, beef jerky, protein bars, etc…). I’ve also taken to enjoying some hummus lately, which is made out of chickpeas (a big paleo no-no). Lastly, I consume a lot of sodium, I mean A LOT. Most of which comes from my undying love affair with mustards of all sorts. I put mustard on everything.
However, I am strict on avoiding all grains, products containing gluten, soy products, dairy (other than what I listed above), and heavily processed food which in most cases is not really food. I also make it a point to limit starches as much as possible, though I do eat frequent small servings of yams. The basic principle I stick to is the well known diet mantra from the paleo/CrossFit communities of “eat garden vegetables, lean meat, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar.” In addition, to this base I do have 1-2 servings of fruit a day and a good amount of healthy fats mostly from avocados, nut butters, and olive oil. Finally, I try to eat as much organic and local grown/raised as I can, consuming the majority of my fruits and vegetables raw.
To put this all into perspective, read on and LISTEN TO THE PODCAST BELOW!
For one of the best paleo discussions I have ever heard (and believe me I’ve heard a few in my day…) check out the link below and listen to the first audio file that comes up. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a direct link to this particular file anywhere, but it’s also on iTunes Podcasts under the Barbell Buddha podcast episode #51. The talk is by Chris Moore and is entitled “Knuckle Deep in Paleo.” In this podcast Chris goes into the modern paleo lifestyle, the tweaks that can be made to the diet, what athletes should be doing on the diet, why its ok to not be 100% paleo, and many other fascinating topics. To cut right to the core I think the real reason I like this so much is the fact that I agree with EVERY WORD he says. If you want to follow a paleo lifestyle that is actually attainable and will sustain you through intense training and allow you to enjoy life this is a must listen!
*Pay particular attention to the part where he discusses why its alright to break paleo on special occasions and why it is the proper/polite thing to do. The example Chris cites of what Anthony Bourdain did is pretty demonstrative of his point!
There you have it! Short post on the modifications made to live a modern paleo lifestyle. Now got eat some grass-fed beef you 21st century cave people!